THE HASTINGS Group has today unveiled plans for its new hotel – the Belfast Grand Central.
The company will transform Windsor House, one of the tallest buildings in Ireland, into a high end 4 star hotel.
And it will create 150 jobs in the hospitality industry when it opens to its first customers.
It bought the office block in Bedford Street a few weeks ago for £6.5 million.
Sir William Hastings Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “We are delighted to unveil the plans for what will be the seventh hotel in our portfolio in Northern Ireland.
“This acquisition represents our biggest single investment to date of £30m and upon completion in 2018 the hotel will operate at the upper end of the 4-star market offering 200 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, 18 serviced apartments and a range of superbly appointed office accommodation. The hotel will create over 150 new jobs.
“This project is a huge undertaking for Hastings Hotels and it is has only been made possible by the strength of our existing hotels portfolio and the quality of our staff and management. It will bring the number of bedrooms in our group to over 1,000 making us the largest privately owned hotel chain on the island of Ireland,” Sir William said.
He continued: “The original Grand Central, which also boasted 200 bedrooms, was built in 1893 and was the thriving hub of Victorian Belfast as well as the finest hotel in Ireland.
“Winston Churchill, the King of Belgium, Al Jolson, Mario Lanza and the Beatles were all guests who enjoyed its luxurious hospitality.
“I am extremely proud to be able to pay tribute to this much loved property of the past by naming Belfast’s newest hotel after it.
“Today I can also reveal the new branding for our new hotel, which incorporates the Seahorse.
“The Seahorse, part of Belfast’s Coat of Arms, celebrates the City’s Maritime history.
“Old photos from the Glory Days of the Grand Central show the Seahorse motif featuring on menus and plates.
“Our new interpretation of this classic Belfast emblem is a permanent reminder of the new Grand Central’s connection with its elegant past.”
“The Belfast Grand Central Hotel will fulfil the requirement for much needed city centre accommodation in Belfast.
“Tourism in Northern Ireland continues to thrive and it is the ideal time to extend our portfolio of hotels with more high profile events coming to the city as well as an increase in business tourism which will be helped by the expansion of the Belfast Waterfront next year,” Sir William added.
Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Arder Carson added: “This is great news for the city.
“One of our major objectives is to double the current tourism revenue by 2020 and developments such as this one by the Hastings Hotels Group are a huge step forward towards achieving that goal.”